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Messages - rbowers

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Beer Recipes / Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: May 20, 2015, 06:34:04 PM »
I get less and less time to brew these days so when given the chance I have been trying to get two batches in.  This is easiest to do if I can brew two batches from one base beer.  Lately I've been contemplating a Hefeweizen/Berliner Weisse combo.  Both can have similar malt bills.  I would boil the entire batch briefly, pull off the Berliner portion after minimal hopping, then continue on with a full boil for the Hefeweizen.  This would result in a lower OG for the Berliner and a higher one for the Hefeweizen which would fall in line with typical characteristics of both styles.  Has anyone else done something similar or have comments on if this can work.  I'm also open to other combo suggestions.  This would be my first attempt at either style.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Cold Crashing (keg vs fermenter)
« on: May 20, 2015, 12:29:10 AM »
If you have an extra keg you can cut 1-2 inches off the end of the dip tube and use this as a cold crashing keg.  Rack from primary to this keg and crash.  Once you're satisfied that everything has dropped out you just rack to a new keg- all the trub/yeast/etc will be below the end of the tube and nothing but clear beer gets transferred.  I do this when lagering as well.  Works great.  Only down side is you may lose a beer or two. 

Kegging and Bottling / Force carbonating temperature
« on: May 20, 2015, 12:18:59 AM »
I have always kept my CO2 tank inside the keezer and force carbed the beers at a corresponding pressure knowing that both the beer and CO2 tank were the same temperature.  I need to move the tank out of the keezer now for needed room, so it will be closer to ambient (~75-80F) temps.  Will this affect anything or do I just set the dial at my usual number based on corresponding beer temp?  Probably a stupid question but thought I'd ask.

Equipment and Software / Shurflo pumps for cold transfers
« on: May 06, 2015, 06:35:16 PM »
Does anyone have any opinions regarding the shurflo pumps you can find on some of the online shops?  I have a bad back with a few bulging discs and lifting carboys for gravity induced transfers from primary to secondary or secondary to keg are difficult/not ideal.  I have transferred under small amounts of CO2 pressure and while effective this is somewhat cumbersome and seems a tad risky.
Specifically does anyone have any recs regarding how easy these are to clean?  I've got some brett beers floating around from time to time and would hope to be able to sanitize the pump by circulating some starsan or the like for awhile. 

The prices on the online shops are prohibitive but amazon appears to sell the same pump for way less.

SHURflo Industrial Pump - 198 GPH, 115 Volt, 1/2in., Model# 2088-594-154

Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Jolly pumpkin dregs
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:23:55 PM »
I managed to acquire several bottles of Jolly Pumpkin (big fan) of which I am hoping to harvest the dregs and add to a little wort to sustain them until I'm ready to toss into some wort.  Does anyone know if the yeast and/or bugs located within the bottles are all the same or different for each bottle?  Do sour beers like Jolly Pumpkin typically contain live cultures of lactobacillus or Pedio?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belgian Saison Blend (WL568) starter?
« on: December 16, 2014, 08:37:55 PM »
Yeah I've heard the same thing about a blend such as Roselare from Wyeast but wasn't sure about one simply containing different saccharomyces strains.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Just say "no" to yeast rinsing
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:35:17 PM »
I was referred to this thread not too long ago when I asked a question about yeast rinsing and so I tried the new method of swirling the yeast with a little of the left over beer then decanting off once settled.  It really worked great- it seems the washing process at best is just an extra unnecessary step and at worse may lead to other problems.  I went ahead and made some fresh wort to feed it and it's bubbling away in a flask ready to go for brew day in a week or two.  Thanks for the good advice!

Yeast and Fermentation / Belgian Saison Blend (WL568) starter?
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:28:06 PM »
Planning on brewing up a big batch of saison in 10 days or so.  I wanted to split 10 gallons into two separate 5 gal worts- half to be a traditional saison the other half to be pitched with Brett Trois/lambicus left over from a 100% Brett farmhouse that finished up fermenting (saved some of the yeast).
LHBS only had WL568 belgian saison yeast blend which came highly recommended.  I need to build it up though over the next few days for the total 10 gallons.  Since it is a blend, will making a starter alter the characteristics much of the final beer and if so would it be bad to do anyways?

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit to add to winter saison
« on: December 15, 2014, 03:55:59 AM »
Thanks for the tips.  Dark cherries do sound like maybe a good way to go.  I'd heard the same about Brett using primary fermentation by-products as it's fuel as well.  However the only other time I experimented with it was throwing some Orval dregs into secondary of a small portion of tripel I brewed.  Sat on it awhile (8 months) but the character was not all that prevalent in the end- could have been the dregs I suppose.  Just tinkering around and thought some fruit may boost the character and add some different aspects to the beer compared to the other 5 gallons I will be enjoying shortly.

Beer Recipes / Fruit to add to winter saison
« on: December 14, 2014, 10:21:35 PM »
I brewed up a large batch (8 gal) of the winter saison (saison d'hiver recipe on AHA website).  Treated 5 gal as per recipe but decided to add Brett Brux to 3 gal as an experiment.  The gravity after primary fermentation was fairly low (1.008) so not a lot left in terms of sugars for the Brett I added after primary fermentation.  I was toying around with idea of adding fruit to the secondary for the 3 gal for Brett to munch on and maybe add some interesting flavor but not sure what would be best.  I omitted the vanilla and cinnamon for the 3 gal with Brett.
Plan to let it sit in secondary awhile (several months).

I've considered currants, dates, and raisins but I'm in uncharted territory in terms of my experience.

Any suggestions?

Recipe is as follows (scaled up for 8 gallons)

For 5.5 gallons (20.8 L)
11.5 lb (5.21 kg) | Belgian Pilsner malt
0.60 lb (0.27 kg) | Crystal 120L
1.0 lb (0.45 kg) | Munich malt
0.4 lb (0.18 kg) | Vienna malt
0.4 lb (0.18 kg) | Wheat malt
0.25 lb (0.11 kg) Carafa malt
0.50 lb (0.22 kg) | Turbinado sugar
0.75 lb (0.34 kg) | Dark Candi sugar
1.4 oz (40 g) | Styrian Goldings hop pellets, 4.7% AA (60 minutes)
0.5 oz (14 g) | Saaz hop pellets, 3.5% AA (20 minutes)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Washing Brett
« on: December 04, 2014, 08:25:32 PM »
So if I harvest the yeast and feed it a little bit (500ml wort) how long can I expect it to remain viable and ready to pitch in another batch?  Probably would feed again a day or two prior to next brew day just to rev it up a bit

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Washing Brett
« on: December 03, 2014, 06:39:43 PM »
Very interesting.  So if I understand this correctly- I can simply rack my beer, swirl the remaining beer ((1/2 inch or so), pour into sterilized container and decant liquid with yeast after a brief settling time to a separate sterile container and store that beer and suspended yeast for later use?  With Brett I guess I'd worry about it continuing to propagate in whatever sugars may still remain and in a closed container may not be a good idea.  Could always store with an airlock I guess.  It'll be in the fridge so certainly going slower whatever the case.  Feeding it extra beer up front seems less necessary if I expect to use in a few months.

Yeast and Fermentation / Washing Brett
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:30:37 PM »
I have my first 100% Brett beer fermenting (about 20 days in).  I used a 3L starter of Brett trois and 1.5L starter of Brett lambicus all pitched together in primary.  I haven't taken a reading yet but likely plan to transfer to secondary soon.  I wanted to wash the yeast and re-use if this beer turns out good as it took awhile to build up all that Brett in the starters.  Is there anything I should know about washing Brett before I transfer?  Anything different from normal sacc yeast washing practices?  I know it will be a mixed culture obviously but I am ok with that especially if the initial Brett beer comes out well.  Thanks.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 100% Brett First Attempt
« on: November 09, 2014, 08:55:15 PM »
Separate question:  I have a split batch of dark saison fermenting now of which I wanted to take 3 gallons and pitch some brett as a secondary fermentation once primary fermentation is about complete.  Would it be better to:

a) Rack the beer off the saison yeast then pitch brett with beer into a new carboy
b) Simply toss in the brett and let beer sit on all the yeast (old and new)
c) Is it possible to rack the beer to a small 3 gallon keg and do a secondary fermentation there with the brett, periodically releasing pressure so as to prevent excessive CO2 buildup. 

Knowing that not too much extra growth would occur with the brett addition due to not many sugars being left in the beer I wouldn't be too concerned about excessive yeast build up in the final beer.  Also its fairly dark and a saison so not excessively concerned about brilliant clarity.  Is that sound logic?

Yeast and Fermentation / 100% Brett First Attempt
« on: November 04, 2014, 08:34:42 PM »
Going to try a 100% Brett fermentation and needed some help.
I was going to use the recipe from the AHA website ( which describes using a mix of two different strains of Brett.
1) will the Brett perform well at the low temp recommended (65F)?  Seems well below the optimum temp recommended by white labs.
2) will Brett Brux Trois strain also work well for a primary fermentation (if I can't get my hands on Brett brux/lambicus)?
3) there seems to be a lot of variety in how fast I should expect these to ferment out- some say months, others something not too longer than a typical ferment schedule.
4) are starters necessary?


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